ROANOKE, Va. – The weather is warming up and medical experts and Child Protective Services employees are warning parents and guardians to never leave children alone in a car because there's a risk of them developing heatstroke.
The experts said it's never a safe practice, whether parents are making a quick trip to the store, dropping something off at the post office or chatting with a neighbor.
Every year, for one reason or another, parents leave their kids in hot cars and the action has dangerous consequences. A car can heat up 19 degrees every 10 minutes, even with the windows cracked, in the sun or shade.
"So, if it's 90 degrees outside, you leave your child in the car for 10 minutes -- if the car's not running with the air conditioning on -- your car's going to heat up," said Tanya Trevilian, the pediatric trauma program coordinator at Carilion Children's Hospital. "And then it keeps going up from there,"
The biggest danger is heatstroke, which can cause organ failure, brain damage or death.
In the U.S. in 2018, 52 kids died from heatstroke after being left in a car. So far in 2019, seven have died.
Virginia ranks ninth in the country for the highest number of deaths, with 25 since 1998.
According to the organization Safe Kids Worldwide, the main reasons for child vehicular deaths across the country are: